We need to talk about privilege

We need to talk about privilege.

On April 2, 2014, Tal Fortgang wrote a story for Princeton's conservative journal about why he doesn't think he has white privilege.

No one noticed for almost a month, until Time.com republished the article. What came next was a month-long conversation about what it means to be acknowledge your advantages and appreciate the struggles of others -- all started by one college freshman.



The Columbia Spectator: The first non-Princeton publication to respond.

on May 1 at 5:07 a.m., The Columbia Spectator began the two-week flurry of responses with a student opinion piece bashing Fortgang.

Salon: Most stories, with 7.

Salon has an intense focus on quick, relevant blog posts that serve their liberal audience. Fortgang was the perfect subject to illustrate several points Salon wanted to make about white privilege and power.

Huffington Post: Most stories, with 7 across 4 blogs (College, Impact, Media, Live)

HuffPo's Blog makes it easy for almost anyone to chime in on a subject. Fortgang's story was the just the right blend of provocative and applicable to anything for several HuffPo bloggers to pick it up for their own posts.

Newsweek: Best lead

Meet Tal Fortgang, the unsuspecting Princeton student who has launched a thousand thinkpieces with a personal manifesto about refusing to atone for his privilege. You probably already have." Newsweek used this great lead to start off a piece asking why Time decided to republish the opinion of a college student.

Tampa Bay Times: Most unnecessary republishing of Fortgang

Why did the Tampa Bay Times feel the need to repost Fortgang's article on May 5, long after the tide of responses had already begun? The world may never know.

Yahoo! News Canada: Most baffling coverage

Given that this is a Canadian publication.

LA Times: Latest to the party

On May 23, after a week of nobody writing about Fortgang and nearly two months after the original story, the LA Times decided to put in their two cents -- too little too late.


Following so much completely unexpected publicity, Fortgang is trying to stay out of the limelight and avoid becoming forever attached to this one opinion.

From the New York Times:

"All the attention he has received since then has been somewhat surprising, Mr. Fortgang said, adding that he was not always happy with the kind of people who have rallied around him.

'I am sure there are some really racist white supremacists who point to me as a hero on the college campus,' he said. 'That is not me. I don't have a racist bone in my body.'...

Still, he said, after a year at Princeton, he hoped his views were starting to develop 'some real nuance.'

'I am learning how to learn,' he said."

From Newsweek:

"Fortgang also declined to speak on the phone, saying in an email that he's 'burnt out from the attention' and now needs to focus on his schoolwork. 'I'd really like for this brouhaha to die down,' he added, especially now that threats of violence are rolling his way."